Trump Summits the Texas Shooting

At 11:20 a.m. in Sutherland Springs in the suburbs of San Antonio, armed Devin P. Kelley opened fire in the middle of a church service. 26 were killed. The following day, Monday, November 6th, disrupting his five-country tour through Asia, President Donald Trump addressed the Texas shooting during a press conference with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 

"We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn't a gun’s situation," he said. "Fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction… this is a mental health problem at the highest level" said Trump. He insisted that it was too soon to talk about gun control issues, echoing what he said about a month ago after the Las Vegas shooting. 

So, what happens now? What does what Trump said mean for our country? Will policies change? If so when? How long until someone else opens up an attack in a public space? The questions that our nation faces, while the rest of the world watches are endless.

At age 26, Kelley had a history of diagnosed mental illness and a string of disruptive, unsafe behavior including but not limited to “a conviction for beating his then-wife and stepson, charges of animal cruelty, mental health concerns, investigations for domestic assault, threats against his family members”.  The domestic concerns in particular, among the other slew of red flags Kelley reveals on his records, there should have been enough indication of risk to prevent him from getting his hands on any firearm. But these thoughts and analyses come too late; 26 are dead, several more are injured.

Here we are yet again as a nation, using the same template for yet another tragedy. All the news platforms have to change about these shootings are the location and the mugshot. Trump declares that if we as a nation turn against gun rights, then mass shootings that we are seeing on a regular basis now will be even more harmful and blasphemous because there won’t be, too loosely paraphrase Trump, the good guys pointing the gun in the other direction. 

It is dumbfounding as to how politicians, especially the leader of the United States, and our nation overall can still clutch onto excuses or defensive blurbs that supposedly shut down the scrutiny against gun rights. The motive of these attacks and massacres that are tirelessly occurring over and over again should be evidence enough for us to collectively look around and say, “ok something has to give”.

This problem, as shown evident by the small church community that was targeted most recently in Sutherland Springs, is not just occurring in the population-dense cities, the unsafe spaces in bad neighborhoods; it is happening everywhere. According to a statistical study written by A.J Willingham and Saeed Ahmed (sourced from both the Gun Violence archive and the US Census Bureau), there have been “307 shootings in which four or more people were injured or killed” in 2017 so far. Is that enough for us to change something? How about the fact that on an international level in the last fifty years, about a third of the total mass shootings occur in the United States? Other countries have changed their policies in response to this - other countries have made sacrifices of their rights to bear arms so that people do not have to sacrifice their lives. These are children being shot, these are safe places; schools and churches where it's occurring! America is a free, progressive place where we are supposed to remind ourselves each day how blessed we are with the privilege of freedom and an endless list of rights that come with it. But when will the minute right to bear arms consequently diminish other rights of principle safety?

As the current president stands before us, saying to reporters that ask him questions about the recent shootings that it is insensitive to discuss gun rights when tragedies are fresh in our minds, we must push back and say no this is the time! This is the time that we must respond and outline in writing, in the laws that constitute this country that change must occur in order to protect the rights of civilians; of innocent people. 

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